How to Prep a Basement Floor for Paint

A floor must be swept and washed before painting.
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Typically, an unfinished basement floor is made of concrete. While concrete is a practical material for a house's foundation, it isn't a very pretty surface to look at. Fortunately, most epoxy paints work well on concrete, and you can transform a gray basement floor into a colorful focal point. To get the best results, however, you must prep the floor properly before you paint. Good prep work leads to an even, durable finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Muriatic Etching Solution
  • Mop
  • Concrete Patching Compound
  • Painter'S Tape
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Broom
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Patching Trowel
  • Putty Knife

Sweep the basement floor with a broom.

Vacuum dust and debris out of cracks and small divots in the basement floor. A broom removes surface debris, but most basement floors contain recessed imperfections that require vacuuming before patchwork can begin.

Fill cracks and dents with concrete patching compound. Use a putty knife to slather the patching compound onto the area. Paint won't hide imperfections; fixing cracks is an important part of painting prep.

Smooth out patched cracks with a patching trowel. Wait for the patching compound to dry. Quick-drying compounds harden in less than one hour, while other varieties can take a full day. Consult the container for the manufacturer's recommended drying times.

Apply painter's tape to trim and adjacent wall surfaces.

Mix 1 part muriatic etching solution with 10 parts water in a large bucket. Muriatic etching solutions are available at most hardware stores, and this cleanser is specifically designed for masonry surfaces.

Wash the floor with the diluted muriatic etching solution and a mop. Wait for the floor to fully dry before applying paint.